United States striker Tim Weah says his side felt like playing at home during their 5-0 thrashing of Paraguay in their FIFA U-17 World Cup pre-quarterfinal match here.
The United States, who had beaten India 3-0 in a group match, received boisterous support from the 34,000-odd spectators at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here during their match against Paraguay last night and their and their striker and hat-trick man Tim Weah thanked the crowd.
“As we came out of the tunnel, we heard the crowd chanting my name and also ‘USA, USA’ and we said to each other that we have come back home. The crowd support boosted our confidence. It was fantastic. So thank you for the support to our team. We love India,” Weah, who scored the tournament’s second hat-trick, said.
Weah, son of legendary Liberian footballer George, also described his second goal in yesterday’s match as one of the best of his career.
“The second goal, I do not know, I just cut back and instinctively took the shot. But without the pass from (Chris) Gloster, the goal would not have happened. So I thanked him. I have not scored many beautiful goals like this one. Most of my goals have been like tap-ins and I was very excited to have score a brilliant goal,” said the 17-year-old who is currently with the reserve team of Paris Saint Germain.
Weah, who did not score in USA’s three earlier matches, found the target three times against Paraguay, scoring in the 19th, 53rd and 77th minutes. He made a clinical first touch finish with his left foot for his first goal, directing the perfect low cross from the right by Ayo Akinola.
The second was a spectacular shot from the left edge of the box after a clinical first touch, which curled round the diving goalkeeper to hit the right corner of the net. The third was a simple and easy chance after he was nicely set up by Andrew Carleton in front of an open goal.
USA coach John Hackworth described Weah’s goal as world class.
“It is not only brilliant but also world class,” the coach said.
Asked when he expects he will make it to PSG’s first team, Weah said, “It is going to be hard. But with hard work and dedication anything is possible. I am in the reserve team and when I got to train with the likes of (Kylian) Mbappe, (Edinson) Cavani and Neymar, I thought my time (with first team) is going to come.
“Coach Unai Emery is satisfied with me so far and so hopefully I hope I can make it to the first team towards the end of this season.”
Weah said that his American mother was happy with his performance but could not get through to his father as he was busy. George Weah is fighting Liberia’s presidential election.
Hackworth said that the good show of his U-17 players could not be an enough compensation for the country’s senior side failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“We have talked about it. I told the boys that now it is your responsibility to do well in the U-17 World Cup and show the world that our country is still a footballing country and we have some very talented world class youngsters.”